Dear John (Mara): Your New York Giants Aren't That Bad

Donna CavanaghCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants talks with Eli Manning #10 against the San Diego Chargers at Giants Stadium on November 8, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

(An Open Letter to Giants’ Owner John Mara)

Earlier this week you expressed your displeasure with the Giants' season performance, and you “vowed to make changes.”

You are quoted as saying “I am disappointed in everybody, in everything. I’m unhappy with everyone. It’s just not acceptable to perform like that. There are 8-8 seasons and there are 8-8 seasons, but this one felt more like 2-14 to me.”

It is nice to see an owner hold his team to a high standard and “expect excellence.” We, at PossessionPoints.com , agreed with your expectations for this season as we picked your Giants to win it all (our preseason “out on a limb prediction ”).

But now that it is over, and we look over the season performance, we have to ask if you aren’t being overly critical on your team.

Consider the following chart:

NFL schedule results and records">

We highlighted the playoff teams in “blue”, and we highlighted in “green” the five teams that had better than .500 records and played teams with a combined record over .500.

You will note your Giants’ opposition ranked fifth toughest. You should also note that only one team in the top 10 with the toughest schedules, the Ravens, made the playoffs. And their record at 9-7 was only one game better than your Giants’.

You should also note that no NFC teams that played teams with above .500 records made the playoffs. The closest was the Cowboys whose schedule ranked 22nd.

We acknowledge that the Giants did play some bad games this season, and many people are focused on the two final games, which we agree were two of the three worst. The other really bad effort by our measure was the Thanksgiving game in Denver.

But let’s look at the Giants’ game-by-game results with another gauge. If you consider a “Quality Win” as a win over a team with a .500 or better record and a “Bad Loss” as a loss against a team with a sub-.500 record you will see the following:

The Giants’ had three “Quality Wins” and no “Bad Losses”. The closest thing to “Bad Losses” that the Giants had were the two of the three games we previously mentioned against the Broncos and Panthers who both had .500 records.

You can argue that your team should have had more “Quality Wins” as the Eagles and Cowboys in your division both had more. The Eagles had six and the Cowboys had five.

The Eagles were the only team of the three that had a “Bad Loss,” and that was their loss to Oakland. So yes, we agree, your Giants could have had more “Quality Wins” and this is why the other two teams are in the Playoffs and the Giants are not.

We understand your disappointment in your team and your desire to win, but the Giants’ performance was not so awful that we would agree with your feeling of this season as a 2-14 type season.

Your Giants were an 8-8 team, and they played like an 8-8 team. There were some good, some bad points and certainly some room for improvement.

Your coach Tom Coughlin seems to have focused on the defense and already removed the defensive coordinator from his position. We have to say this does seem like the reasonable response to the season performance, based on our “PossessionPoints” statistic.

Your Giants’ defense measured 107 (we consider this bad and color that performance red) as it was 31st in the league. Your offense measured 109 (we consider this good and color that performance green) as it was seventh best in the league. The net (offense minus defense) was a positive two, which ranked 18th in the league.

We realize you are most likely unfamiliar with this net measure, which we call a “Relative Performance Measure”, so we included a full chart with all the teams in the league and how they did by this measure.

Take note: Once again, we colored the playoff teams blue. You can see that they most of them lie at or near the top of the chart.

In closing, we are glad to see your coaching staff moving quickly to improve your defensive performance, but we hope your disappointment in the team’s performance doesn’t cause you to do anything too drastic.

Next season you will be playing a third-place schedule and with a little improvement in defense, we expect you will be right back in the playoffs and contending for the division crown.

One last thing:  Could you do us a favor? Give this message to Roger Goodell. 

If the league wants to improve quality of play by all teams in the final four weeks of the season, make it that the win-loss of these four weeks are used for seeding the teams that make it into the playoffs.  That will keep everyone’s “A” team on the field.




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